With an ever expanding community the Tigers dominated the lower classifications in football last season. Those numbers are starting to have an effect on the future of football in the area.
Belton will begin in pads and unlike the fall there is not an conditioning period with temperatures much lower this time of year than August. It is a no-brainer in holding spring practice. If a team passes up spring football they only get 6 days extra days that fall. So a team will lose over two weeks of practice by not participating in spring football.
It has been since the late 1990's since Belton has had good size on both sides of the ball heading into the fall. Belton's offensive line returns four starters with Zach Shackelford 6-4, 260, Justin Murphy 6-6, 280, Sam Hussey 6-3, 265 and Colby Williams returning. Shackelford started at times as a freshman and Murphy is a legitimate offensive line prospect.
They have played together as a group and have the size and footwork to the give theBelton and offensive line they haven't had no a long time. "Murphy will play on Saturday's," said Southern. "We are just about where we need to be in terms of linemen. It has been awhile since we have had depth and we haven't been this big since I have been here. We are at the point now where we have some depth. We moved 36 freshmen into the varsity period after the season. The year before we moved 20, it is a mental thing. This fall both junior varsity offensive lines will be good and we are starting to get the type of athletes we need," said Southern.
Shane Stafford one of the strongest players on the team and the fastest (4.4 forty) is the starting quarterback. He has beefed up in the offseason but needs game time experience. The Tigers have the most depth they have had at running back with Kevan Johnson 4.5, Camron Meyers, Brandon Rhoads and Kyle Adamson vying for playing time. The Tigers two talented receivers in Anthony McCoshum and Andre Ewing but need one or two more to step up in the spring.
Belton's defensive line returns a host of big talented players and it is the strength of the team with Colby Priest 6-4,270, Cody Caswell6-3, 233, Brandon Sullivan 6-4, 270 and Rodarius Birks 280 the returning starters. Birks might be the best nose guard in the Austin-area with all four with loaded with experience from last year. The Tigers also have depth with a number of defensive linemen moving up that will rotate in. They need to find a couple of linebackers and one outstanding junior varsity linebacker just needs some game time experience. The secondary will be young but they are very athletic.
"We are faster in the secondary this year over last year. They just need experience. Our strength is our offensive and defensive lines. We need a couple of db's to step up this spring and are trying to find one more linebacker. We will practice five then scrimmage then practice five then scrimmage," said Southern.
Belton will have 204 kids in football this spring up from 186 the year before. An outstanding freshman class is expected to follow last year's district dominating freshman. Belton has 131 freshman signed up and should once again feature three freshman football teams.